Hello from the other side of the world

Hello family,

I hope that things are better at home now, after the tragedy in the family. It was a strange feeling from over here, since I’d never seen baby Joshua, but it was still very sad for me. I hope that Robyn and auntie Nita are ok, though I can’t imagine that they will be for a while. I guess it’s part of God’s plan, but please give them all a hug and kiss for me. I prayed for them when I got the news.

Things are finally starting to look up on this side –  I’m typing this message from my repaired computer and I finally have a working internet connection. I’m glad to be back and connected to the world but you can trust me when I say I was not excited to have to spend the money to get it fixed. The culture here makes African time look like they’re working lightyears ahead. If you can believe it, I actually miss the service from back home. There are so many things that are so different and difficult here. I still don’t have a cellphone sim card, though I keep getting told that I will get one any day now. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see when it finally comes around. Nights are mostly spent chilling at home reading or getting to bed early.  I never figured I would suffer from such disconnection anxiety. Anyway, it’s all sorted now.

My Spanish has moved from offensive to atrocious, which feels like real progress. I’m aiming to make it to horrible in a month or two and achieve crap before I leave here. I am able to get around and buy most things I need – a combination of some basic etymology and leftovers from varsity French mean that I can sort of make out what things are. Cab drivers are another story though….. Taxis are relatively cheap here, so everyone uses them. They’re bright red and drive like maniacs, but somehow they never hit anything – some sort of reverse magnetism I suspect. Speaking of driving, the roads in San Jose have almost no potholes. Instead they’ve levelled up to stove holes, and you could very realistically get your car stuck in one if you’re not careful…

Last night I returned from my weekend at the beach. It was quite an experience – the place we went to is called Tamarindo and is about 5 hours out of the city. Around here if you drive anywhere for 5 hours you’re either at the beach or out of the country. The town of Tamarindo itself is about half the size of Goodwood and it feels like someone made it up. It’s made up of beaches, hostels, bars, surfing instructors and restaurants. The place is packed to the rafters with American college students and surfers and is so mellow it makes Plet look like a buzzing metropolis. On Friday night we partied at a very cool bar called Crazy Monkey where half of the dance floor is the pool and the dress code is strictly shorts and flip flops. I fit right in…

Saturday was an adventure day – I was up early to go body surfing in the Pacific ocean, then in the afternoon I went quad biking through the jungle. I got stuck in the middle of a stream when my ATV (all terrain vehicle) got submerged and the engine flooded with water. It was no big deal – I was towed out, we drained the water and off I went in about 10 minutes. I don’t remember having that much fun in mud even when I was little. I got to swim in a stream we found running through the jungle. Of course, much Anaconda checking was done first and a tentative shoe was sent in as a dummy.

After the ATV trail (which was about 3 hours) we made our way to the top of the mountain here which is quite high up. There’s a relay of cables that runs all the way down the mountain. Basically you’re strapped on to the line, take a bit of a run and then jump off the platform and go zipping down the mountain in the jungle canopy. The view is breathtaking and it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. There were 11 cables on the descent, the longest of which ran for 500m and was 150m above the jungle floor. I have a video clip of the ride down, and I’ll post it up as soon as I can get it off my camera.

Sunday morning was spent on the beach surfing, which is why my arms feel like they belong to someone else. I’m turning a darker shade of brown, and I must admit – I kinda like it. The drive home was less than fun. While we were stuck in one of many traffic jams on the freeway my friend’s car was hit by a truck when the trucker didn’t brake in time. It was just a little nudge, but it was scary as hell – I think the truck’s bright lights that close to us was the scariest part of all. After about an hour of arguing with the trucker (in the rain no less) the cops arrived on the scene, cleared things up and we were back on our way.

Right now, I need to catch up on a helluva lot of email that’s come in over the last three weeks in my digital absence, so it’s going to be a long night.

Tomorrow, I’ll start to get things back on track.

Lots of love,